News

NDP’s Taylor demands premier restore program funding for children with autism

Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain and NDP critic for children and youth services, demanded that Premier Wynne restore funding to Yes I Can Nursery in Toronto that offers specialized programs for children with autism.

Yes I Can Nursery in Toronto provides programming for children with autism but those programs are now in jeopardy because the government is cutting their funding.

“Your government claims this was ‘one time funding’ but Yes I Can has been receiving this funding for the past nine years. They have built their programs with the understanding they were working toward sustainable funding but, out of the blue, the funding was cut,” said Taylor.

Taylor recounted the story of a single mother who moved house from Brampton to Toronto so that her severely autistic daughter could get the programming she needs at Yes I Can.

“The girl is now in the specialized communication classes at Yes I Can full-time. However, if funding is not restored, those classes could come to an end,” Taylor said.

“Will the premier keep her commitment to children with autism and restore funding to Yes I Can?” demanded Taylor.

Statement by Andrea Horwath on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Twenty-seven years ago today, the lives of fourteen women were cut painfully short at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal, in a hateful act of violence against women. 

Ontario’s New Democrats, alongside all Canadians, mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women by mourning and honouring Geneviève Bergeron, Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, and Annie Turcotte. 

Today in Canada, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reminds us that the threat of violence and death remains all too real for many, especially amongst marginalized populations. And around the world – even close to home – there are those that would strip women of the rights they have struggled to secure in years past.

Ontarians must work together to create a province where women and girls are respected, safe from harm, and given every opportunity to succeed. And we must create a society where victims of violence feel safe, and believed, when they come forward, rather than facing further victimization.

Ontario’s New Democrats are committed to bringing about an end to violence against women, and to ensuring that the victims of violence are supported.

Let’s work together to build an Ontario for everyone – where women and girls are respected, safe, and supported.

 

Metrolinx accountability needs to start at the top after auditor finds systemic failures

After the Auditor General found that Metrolinx continues to pay out contractors for faulty work, the Ontario NDP’s urban transit critic, Cheri DiNovo, demanded the Wynne government show some accountability.

“Metrolinx keeps giving contractors  second, third and fourth chances for faulty work,” DiNovo said.  “In one case, a contractor failed to show up for work for six months, and not only got a second chance, it got 22 more chances. 

Two months ago, Metrolinx Chair Rob Prichard was reappointed for another term as the Chair of the Metrolinx Board of Directors.

“Did the Minister know what was in this Metrolinx audit when he allowed Mr. Prichard another chance as Chair?”

The Minister of Transportation has promised there will be increased accountability at Metrolinx following the Auditor General’s report.

“Yet no one has been held accountable for Presto cost over-runs, the disastrous roll-out of the Union Pearson Express, upside-down bridge trusses, and years of transit planning chaos,” DiNovo said.

 “The Minister has decided that Liberal insiders like Rob Prichard are doing a fine job at providing oversight at Metrolinx.  Public support for transit investment won’t survive more Metrolinx audits like this last one. Public trust depends on accountability, and accountability needs to start at the top.”

“Who does the Minister hold accountable for these failures at Metrolinx that happened on his watch?”  DiNovo asked.

Auditor General agrees with NDP – Hospital overcrowding is hurting health care in Ontario

Hospital overcrowding is the result of Liberal cuts to Ontario’s hospitals, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, after the Auditor General confirmed that far too many of Ontario’s hospitals are overcrowded. New Democrats first revealed widespread overcrowding in May, based on documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests.

“For months we have been raising concerns about overcrowded hospitals, and for months the government refused to admit there was a problem that needed solving,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath this morning during question period. “Last week the auditor confirmed that 60 per cent of the hospitals in Ontario are overcrowded, and overcrowded hospitals mean more infections and longer wait times.” 

The Auditor General’s 2016 Annual Report confirmed that occupancy rates over 85 per cent result in longer waits for patients and increased risks of infections. Kingston General Hospital has had occupancy rates over 90 per cent for ten straight quarters, from 2013 through to 2015. Across the province, nearly 60 per cent of medicine wards at large community hospitals are reporting occupancy rates over the safe standard of 85 per cent.

According to the Auditor General, “there is much research to show that occupancy rates higher than 85 per cent not only result in longer wait times for hospital beds in acute-care wards, but also increase the risk of transmitting infectious disease” (p. 458). 

At hospitals the Auditor General’s staff visited, investigators “saw patients placed on uncomfortable stretchers or gurneys in hallways and other high-traffic areas that were never designed for patient care” (p. 446).

“This is hallway medicine in Ontario. The government created this problem when they froze hospital funding for four years. And they're making it worse with budgets that still don't keep up with the cost of inflation, never mind population growth,” said Horwath, MPP for Hamilton Centre.

“Will the Premier stop denying that hospitals are overcrowded and stop robbing our healthcare system of the resources it needs?” asked Horwath. “Will the premier stop pretending nothing is wrong, truly put patients first and stop the cuts to hospitals?”

Premier needs to wake up to precarious job reality facing youth in Ontario:

Ontario NDP Finance Critic, Catherine Fife, called on Premier Wynne to raise the minimum wage to $15 as a first step in taking action for young Ontario workers, after a Statistics Canada report found precarious job prospects facing youth who have less full time jobs and earn less today than in the 1980s.

“If young Ontarians can find work, it is often precarious work. It is increasingly difficult for the young people of this province to establish themselves. Life is becoming more unaffordable. Costs are going up and wages are staying flat,” said Fife, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo.  “When is the government going to wake up to the realities facing young people and make the changes that will allow them to stay and prosper right here in the province of Ontario?”

Today, Statistics Canada released their long-term perspective on the youth labour market. It shows that young Ontarians are less likely to be employed full-time and earn less today than in the 1980s.

“Young Ontarians right across the province are hurting. They are leaving school and not finding work. The youth unemployment rate is higher than 30 per cent in Barrie, 17 per cent in Hamilton, and 16 per cent in London,” said Fife. “To make matters worse, wages are actually declining. According to Stats Canada, young, full-time employees are making less today than they were in the 1980s.  The numbers don’t lie.”

“It’s getting harder to live in Ontario and build a good life for the young people of this province. Will the Premier admit that the status quo isn’t working and take an important step by raising the minimum wage to $15?” asked Fife.

Listen to Ontarians, stop the sell-off of Hydro One

Today during Question Period Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath  said that the Premier must listen to Ontarians who are struggling to pay their rising hydro bills,  and stop the sell-off Hydro One. 

“I don’t think the Premier realizes just how hard life is getting for people across Ontario,” said Horwath.  “Instead of listening, instead of trying to understand what the hydro sell-off means for people, the Premier is burying her head in the sand.” 

Last week Horwath received an email from a senior living in Sault Ste. Marie – though he asked not to be named, he wanted his story shared with the Premier to show her in a tangible way, the effect that the hydro sell-off is having on him.

“This senior uses candles because he’s so worried about the cost of turning on the lights. He told me about the shame he feels feel because he can’t explain to his friends why he can't meet them for coffee, because the hydro bill leaves so little money left over,” said Horwath.  “Nobody in Ontario should have to live with that kind of worry, or feel shame for something that isn’t their fault.”

Horwath also noted that small businesses in her community and across Ontario can’t afford their skyrocketing hydro bills.

“Glow Juicery is a small business in Hamilton that just opened.  Jesse Briscoe, Glow’s owner, is proud of the company she started, but she's worried she might have to close up shop due to the high hydro costs she is incurring,” Horwath noted.

This is what Jesse had to say about the Premier's hydro ‘mistake’: "Okay, you say it's a mistake, what are you actually going to do about it?... Give small businesses a break. Do something. Anything."

“Without action, without showing Ontarians that she is serious when she says she made a mistake on the hydro file and doing something to fix it, the Premier just has no credibility and the people and small businesses of Ontario are left to suffer,” said Horwath.

Statement from NDP leader Andrea Horwath on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Ontario’s New Democrats are pleased to stand with people around the world today, marking the 24th International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

We mark this Day every December 3rd, to promote understanding of the issues facing people with disabilities, and to support and enhance the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities.

Despite the good progress that has been made, Ontarians living with disabilities still encounter serious barriers to equal social participation, including ongoing stigmatization, discrimination, and challenges to their basic human rights. One in seven Ontarians lives with a disability, and nearly half of all people living with disabilities are unable to participate in the workforce due to barriers they face. People with disabilities have a fundamental right to access services, employment, and housing; and to enjoy full participation in public life.

Ontario must continue to work to improve employment opportunities and reduce barriers, in order to allow people with disabilities to pursue the careers and lives they wish, and deserve. New Democrats will continue to propose and promote legislation that advances equality and accessibility.

We extend our sincere thanks to the organizations and individuals who advocate tirelessly for the rights of Ontarians living with disabilities.

NDP: Jobs numbers don’t tell the whole story

NDP Energy, Environment and Climate Change Critic Peter Tabuns says new job numbers released this morning only tell a partial story about working life in Ontario.

“While we cautiously welcome improvements in the unemployment rate, people deserve good paying jobs no matter where they live in the province,” said Tabuns this morning at Queen’s Park. “Unfortunately, we see that some regions in our province aren’t doing as well as others. Unemployment is getting worse in places like Ottawa, Kingston, Sudbury, Peterborough, London, Windsor, and Thunder Bay.”

 

NDP election bribery bill passes second vote, raises more questions for Liberals

NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson says successful second reading of his Putting Voters First Act puts the governing Wynne Liberals between a rock and a hard place.

The Act, which would make it illegal to “apply for, accept or agree to accept” a bribe in return for “agreeing to become a candidate, refraining from becoming a candidate or withdrawing his or her candidacy” was introduced in response to prosecution currently underway regarding the 2015 Sudbury by-election.

“It is complete nonsense that it would be illegal to offer a bribe to someone, but not illegal to accept a bribe,” said Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay. “This simple piece of legislation restores some sanity to the Elections Act, and introduces a simple measure of accountability that some members of this legislature would rather not see.”

Two high-ranking Liberal executives are accused of offering “certain benefits, offers or … employment” to candidates in the by-election. While they are now facing bribery charges under the Election Act, Sudbury MPP and Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault is not under investigation because under current legislation it’s not illegal to accept a bribe – only to offer one.

“Obviously the Liberals felt cornered here,” said Bisson after the vote. “No government would vote in favour of allowing political candidates to accept a bribe. But now their hypocrisy is even more blatant: you can’t, in good conscience, vote to ban candidates from accepting bribes while allowing a Minister to retain his portfolio who has done just that.” 

The Crown lawyer prosecuting the case has told media that Thibeault sought benefits in return for his candidacy, but would avoid prosecution under current law.

“Premier Wynne needs to do what is right for the people of Ontario, and for democracy,” said Bisson. “She needs to ask Mr. Thibeault to resign his position in cabinet, at least until the case in Sudbury is resolved.”

While Libs focus on misleading partisan advertising, people in Ontario suffer

Today during question period Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called out the Liberal government for its shockingly poor handling of numerous major government programs, illustrated in this year’s Auditor General report.

“People want to believe in the future of Ontario, but yesterday’s Auditor General’s report shows that the government is making decisions that aren’t about people,” said Horwath.  “People are waiting nearly 40 hours for acute care, they’re waiting longer to see a family doctor and information about wait times for surgery is misleading.”

In addition to the mess that this Liberal government has made of Ontario’s healthcare system, the Auditor took them task for the improper administration of many jobs programs in the Province.

“Half of the people who enter an apprenticeship aren’t finishing and the second career and employment services programs are helping less than 40% of the people who are trying to build a better life with a better job,” noted Horwath.

This government is letting people down. While underfunding by the government means that people are finding it harder to get a job, and waiting longer for healthcare, the government was able to find $20 million for advertising that the AG called “misleading”.

“Can the Acting Premier explain to a person who has spent hours in an emergency ward waiting for a bed, or trying hard to find a new job, why the government is more interested in spending taxpayer dollars on the Liberal reelection campaign, than they are in helping the people of Ontario?” Horwath finished.

Health care wait times increasing, as Liberals close beds and cut hospital funding

During Question Period today, Ontario NDP Health Critic France Gélinas called on the Wynne government to stop cutting health care in Ontario, as the Auditor General confirmed that people are waiting longer in emergency rooms and for surgeries. 

“It’s getting harder to access health care when families need it,” said Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt. “After years of cuts and layoffs in our hospitals, people are waiting up to 37 hours in the Emergency Room. After years of bed closures, the Auditor saw people on stretchers in hallways, because our hospitals are dangerously overcrowded.  And after years of budget cuts to our hospitals,  the Auditor found that long wait times for surgeries are putting patients at risk. 

“How can this Liberal government keep failing the patients of Ontario by forcing people to wait longer and longer for the health care they need?” Gélinas asked.

The Auditor General’s report is an indictment of the Premier’s record on health care.

“This Liberal government has closed mental health beds, leaving people in distress waiting, without help, for months on end.  This Liberal government has squeezed hospitals budget to the point that

the Auditor says nearly 60 percent of hospitals are deferring surgeries to balance their budget,” Gélinas said.  “And while this Liberal government claims to publish wait times for surgeries, the Auditor found that the real wait times are actually months longer than this government claims.  The Auditor actually said the information is ‘misleading’ for patients.”

“Why is this Liberal government cutting health care, closing hospital beds, and publishing wait times that are misleading?” Gélinas asked.

Horwath highlights Northern Ontario hydro woes at Queen’s Park

Fresh off a three day tour of parts of Northern Ontario, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath raised hydro concerns that she heard from northern businesses and families during Question Period today.

“On Tuesday I met Jean Bastien, mine manager, and a number of miners at Richmont Mines, near Dubreuilville,” said Horwath.  “The company is hoping to hire more employees. But skyrocketing electricity costs are a big problem. They’re hampering the company’s efforts to expand and create more jobs.” 

During Question Period today Horwath again called on the Liberal government to do the right thing and stop the selloff of hydro one to help businesses in the north create jobs. Horwath also talked about her visit with Sault Ste. Marie senior Sharon Hill, who is struggling to get by with high hydro bills and no pension.

“It’s not just businesses who rely on hydro that are worried.  Sharon’s hydro bills have hit $300 a month already this year and the worst of winter is still to come,” Horwath said.  “After a long, full life, people shouldn’t have to worry about something as basic as keeping the heat on.” 

Whether speaking with a miner, a saw mill operator, a young family, or a senior like Sharon, hydro bills were the biggest worry that Horwath heard about over the past few days in the North.

“Will the Acting Premier do the right thing for people like Sharon and businesses like Richmont Mines, get hydro rates under control, and stop the sell-off of Hydro One?” Horwath finished.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath's Statement on World AIDS Day and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week

More than 75,000 Canadians and over 30,000 Ontarians are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Studies suggest that roughly one in five people living with HIV/AIDS are unaware they have it, and the number of Canadians living with HIV/AIDS continues to grow. 

World AIDS Day and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week are important reminders for us to honour and mourn those we have lost to the virus, as we continue to work to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, while fighting the stigmatization that so often targets people living with the disease.

Around the world, options for preventing the spread of HIV, and treatments for those infected with the virus have improved dramatically. People living with HIV and AIDS live longer, with much greater quality of life than others before them.

But there is more we need to do. We must ensure at-risk individuals have access to the testing, services, and supports they need in a timely manner, and we need to do more to reach out to the communities that are disproportionately at risk, starting with meaningful consultation. This epidemic is more than a medical issue – social factors play a significant role in exposure, education, access to testing, stigmatization, and treatment outcomes.

On December 1, New Democrats stand alongside millions of Canadians to mark World AIDS Day 2016, and the start of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week. The global theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Hands up for #HIVprevention” – a theme focused on different aspects of HIV prevention, and how different communities are affected, including vulnerable populations, women and girls, and those already living with the virus.

Ontario’s NDP is committed to eliminating new HIV infections, reducing AIDS-related illness and death, and fighting discrimination against those living with the virus. New Democrats extend our sincere thanks to the organizations, experts, and activists who work tirelessly to raise awareness and reduce the harm caused by HIV and AIDS.

NDP: AG report confirms major change needed to address Liberal broken promises

Ontario NDP Finance Critic Catherine Fife, MPP Kitchener-Waterloo, responded to the Auditor General’s 2016 Annual Report, which showed that major changes need to happen for Ontario to have the sorts of opportunity and future that people believe people can and should have. Unfortunately the Liberals are not living up to their promises. 

“People feel like we’re at a tipping point in Ontario, and major changes need to happen if the next generation is going to have the same opportunities or better opportunities than we had,” said Fife. “Instead, what we see in today’s Annual Report is that the wait for care in a hospital is too long, the Liberals aren’t creating the sorts of opportunities and jobs that people need, they are failing young people with mental illness, and all the while the government is spending more money on advertising just to pat themselves on the back.”

Fife highlighted key findings from the report:

  • In Ontario’s healthcare system, emergency rooms are overcrowded, and people are waiting 37 hours for acute care, when they should be receiving it in eight hours. Meanwhile, the Auditor describes the public information about surgical wait times as “misleading.”
  • Employment and Training programs aren’t focused on results. There is insufficient data on demands for skilled labour. Fewer than four in ten participants completing the Employment Service Program were able to find full-time work. And people are not finishing apprenticeships, but the government doesn’t know why.
  • Children living with mental health challenges are making more visits to the hospital, but the government doesn’t know why, and the data showing wait times is “misleading.”
  • Instead of investing in building a future, the Liberals are spending more on partisan government advertising to promote the government which the Auditor calls “misleading.”

“Andrea Horwath and the NDP know that Ontario can be a place where people build a future. But the Liberal government is cutting healthcare, they aren’t creating jobs, life is getting tougher and more expensive, and instead of fixing the problems, they’re spending money on misleading partisan advertising to promote themselves. That’s not the leadership that people were promised,” said Fife. “People know New Democrats are different. We’re focused on good jobs that can support a family, on strengthening public services like healthcare and education, and on opportunities for everyone.”

NDP demands Wynne government release new HIV strategy

During question period today, NDP health critic, France Gélinas, demanded the Wynne government release Ontario’s long overdue HIV strategy, to mark World AIDS Day tomorrow.

“I want to thank the people living with HIV and Ontario’s AIDS service organizations for their response to the epidemic.  We have made real progress. But there’s still  more to do,” Gélinas said. 

“Every single year, 800 Ontarians get diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  That’s far too many.  We must do better.  For nearly two years, we having been waiting for the Minister to sign-off on the new plan to reduce HIV infection in Ontario, and provide better care for people at risk of infection. Today, we are still waiting.”

“Why is the Minister taking so long to release Ontario’s new HIV strategy?” asked Gélinas

World AIDS Day is marked by the World Health Organization and takes place every year on the 1st of December.  It is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease. Gélinas joins people in Canada and around the world demanding action on AIDS prevention and control.

“Two years to sign-off on the new HIV/AIDS strategy is a long time.  AIDS service organizations and people living with HIV are doing incredible work to end the epidemic.   But for every year the Minister waits, 800 more people health and lives are in danger,” Gélinas said.  “The new strategy is done, it is supported and it needs to be released. After two years of waiting, the Minister needs to sign-off.” 

“Will the Minister mark World AIDS Day by finally, at long last, releasing Ontario’s new HIV strategy?” asked Gélinas.

 

Singh to government: stop just apologizing and start fixing the problem with hydro rates

Today during Question Period Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh implored the Liberal government to stop just apologizing for high hydro rates and finally take some action to provide relief for people and businesses that are suffering.

“Bob and Janine of Sundridge, Ontario thought they’d be able to afford to retire. They had budgeted to live on Old Age and CPP,” said Singh.  “But then their Hydro bills started to climb. In spite of heating their home with wood, their hydro bill was almost as much as their rent and they were forced to leave their community, where Bob had lived for 80 years.  Bob and Janine didn’t need just an apology, they needed lower hydro bills.”

It’s not just seniors like Bob and Janine that are suffering under this Liberal government’s incredibly poor handling of Ontario’s energy system, small businesses are suffering too.  On Monday we learned that Mucci Farms, which has been growing tomatos in Kingsville for 45 years, is opening its newest greenhouse in Ohio, because of electricity costs.  Bert Mucci said, “We are paying one of the highest rates in North America… It's causing us to move out of Ontario right now."

“Small business people are at their wits end,” said Singh. “The Windsor Essex Chamber of Commerce says they’re hearing from more and more businesses ready to relocate to Ohio, or simply go under because of their bills.  Admitting a mistake is a good step, but it doesn’t help a single small business owner.  Will the Acting Premier take a first step and stop the sell-off of Hydro One?”

Amidst the slew of non-responses to the NDP Deputy Leader’s questions today, the Minister of Energy touted various government programs that are simply inadequate in addressing the growing hydro bills of both families and businesses across Ontario.

“Over and over Liberal Ministers stand up in Question Period and pat themselves on the back and tell themselves what a great job they’re doing on hydro.  And every time they do that they show just how completely out of touch they are with people struggling to pay their bills,” finished Singh.

Singh calls on Liberal Government to put Wabigoon-English River clean-up in writing

Today during Question Period, Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the Liberals to fully commit their government to the clean-up of mercury from the Wabigoon-English River in Grassy Narrows First Nation and to put that commitment in writing. 

“Last week the Minister of Environment and Climate Change committed to cleaning up the Wabigoon-English River, something the Premier has yet to back up,” said Singh.  “When will the government put their commitment to clean up the mercury in writing, or at least give Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Fobister a start date on the clean-up that was promised by the Minister?” 

The Wabigoon-English River was poisoned in the 1960s when 9,000 kg of mercury was dumped into it by a paper mill.  Scientific reports and medical researcher published this spring show that up to 90% of the people who live at Grassy Narrows are suffering from symptoms of this mercury poisoning. 

“People in Grassy Narrows have been living with mercury poisoning for more than 50 years. People lose their vision, their hearing, their balance, and sometimes even their ability to speak,” said Singh.  “The government has been studying the mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows for generations. Cabinet has had clean-up plans on the table since 1984. It’s time to act. Plain and simple.”

The Minister of Energy agreed to a clean-up of the River last week in the legislature and Chief Fobister has said that Grassy Narrows First Nation is going to hold him to his word.  The Ontario NDP has committed to doing the same.

NDP calls for moratorium on hydro disconnections

With hydro rates climbing, and temperatures dropping, Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns says the time has come for a moratorium on hydro disconnections in Ontario.

“There is a newspaper report today showing that food bank use is soaring because families can’t afford to pay their hydro bill and their grocery bill,” said Tabuns during question period this morning. “This past summer, the Minister of Energy refused to call energy poverty a crisis, even though 60,000 Ontario families have had their hydro cut off. We can expect the number of disconnections to soar next spring, when Hydro One will resume cutting off families who can’t pay their bills.”

United Way of Bruce Grey is leading the call for a moratorium on hydro disconnections. Across the province, more stories are emerging daily about families struggling to pay outrageous hydro bills. Tabuns says the sale of Hydro One will only worsen the issue.

“The Premier has finally acknowledged that soaring hydro prices are a ‘mistake,’ but the minister refuses to do anything to correct that mistake,” said Tabuns, MPP for Toronto-Danforth.

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault “won’t halt the sale of Hydro One even though we know that privatization is going to drive prices up even further. He won’t direct the Ontario Energy Board to put the interests of consumers ahead of the private investors who will benefit from that privatization,” continued Tabuns, asking, “Will he at least agree to a moratorium on hydro disconnections?”